Looks still matter: Filipinos prioritize appearance in online dating, study says

In the digital age of romance, looks still matter.

In the digital age of romance, looks still matter.

A study by Agile Data Solutions, a data-gathering platform, found that more than half of Filipino adults check the photo first when browsing profiles on online dating apps.

The study, conducted through its survey arm Hustle PH, surveyed 1,000 men and women ages 18 and above who use online dating apps. It revealed that 63% of men and 54% of women said the photo was the most important factor in considering a potential partner.

The study also showed that 44% of men and 45% of women put more effort into their profile photos than other aspects of self-presentation.

“Online dating follows rules of physical dating where the initial attraction is always prompted by looks, then developed through meaningful conversations,” said Jason Gaguan, co-founder of Agile Data Solutions. “The main difference is that connections are made faster without the barrier of physical distance and the burden of time-consuming face-to-face meetings.”

The study explored the benefits and challenges of using online dating apps. It found that 50% of women and 48% of men valued the ability to establish deep connections without the need for in-person meetings. Meanwhile, 37% of men and 32% of women expressed interest in discovering shared interests and hobbies.

“There’s a universal desire among respondents to broaden their social connections through online dating apps,” Gaguan said. “This underscores the role of online dating apps as facilitators of social exploration and the importance of shared connections and interests in forging meaningful relationships.”

The study also reported that 58% of women and 73% of men have been in a relationship with someone they met through an online dating app.

However, online dating users also face some challenges, such as anxiety, stress, fear, and mistrust. The study revealed that 34% of women have experienced these negative emotions when using online dating apps, mainly due to the concern of meeting strangers with ill intentions. On the other hand, 43% of women and 40% of men expressed concerns about encountering posers or fake profiles.

“After the initial attraction made through profile pictures and early conversations, we see a similar trend of mistrust and anxiety similar to what we see in the early adoption stage of any digital platform,” Gaguan explained. “Looking at the maturity pattern of these other platforms, the key is to establish a safe space for its users resulting from better security from fraud and higher user penetration.”

The study also found that six out of 10 men and women consider online relationships and friendships to be equally meaningful as those formed in person.

“We see very similar trends for both female and male users, both in the dating app user journey and even on the aspired results, which in this case is a meaningful relationship,” Gaguan said. “This shared goal between genders would continue to drive growth for dating platforms, increasing both trust, usage, and category growth.”

Also read: Study: 6 out of 10 Filipinos actively engage in ‘woke’ culture to amplify social issues

Agile Data Solutions, through its cutting-edge data-gathering platform Hustle PH, remains dedicated to exploring and analyzing cultural trends to help businesses and individuals make informed decisions.

Go here to access the full research.

Image: Yura Fresh of Unsplash

Bryan is a geek at heart and a tech enthusiast by choice. He has a strong background in corporate communications, marketing services, and customer relations having worked in the telecommunications and banking sectors for over two decades. In his spare time, he enjoys watching clips on YouTube and binge watching shows on Netflix.

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